Photography: Dark Sky Films

Director Ted Geoghegan’s violent drama details a clash between Native Americans and vengeful militiamen.

As it rolls out this weekend in digital and limited theatrical release, Mohawk is impressing critics with its blunt-force approach to dramatizing a violent conflict between Native Americans and vengeful militiamen against the backdrop of The War of 1812.

Mohawk writer-director Ted Geoghegan and co-writer Grady Hendrix are horror veterans,” writes Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times, “but their new movie traffics in a different kind of fear — more existential than supernatural. A revenge thriller tied to America's grim past, Mohawk is a lean, gritty film, which mostly overcomes the limitations of its low budget thanks to focused plotting.”

According to Alan Scherstuhl of the Village Voice, Geoghegan and Hendrix “offer viewers about five minutes of calm over the course of the film’s fleet 90. Mostly, this is effective hunt-or-be-hunted stuff, with two Mohawk — a young woman (Kaniehtiio Horn) and man (Justin Rain) — and a sympathetic Brit (Eamon Farren) harried through the woods by an American militia, despite the Mohawk nation’s neutrality in the larger war. Pursued and pursuers continually get the drop on each other, and Geoghegan (who directed 2015’s haunted-house jewel We Are Still Here) and his microbudget tech team ace the showdowns, shootouts, and spurts of blood.”

“Despite clearly working on an indie budget,” adds Variety critic Nick Schager, “the writer-director infuses his sophomore feature with equal measures of suspense, outrage and nightmarishness, all via the story of two Native Americans (and their British companion) who find themselves at odds with vengeful American soldiers ... [in] this rugged tale set during the 1812 war between America and Great Britain.

“Caught in the middle of this conflict is the Mohawk tribe, which wants to remain neutral, much to the dismay of warrior Calvin (Justin Rain), who takes matters into his own hands by slaughtering a group of Americans in their sleep. This, in turn, forces the hand of his comrades Oak (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Joshua (Eamon Farren), the latter an Englishman who ... is apparently the lover of both Calvin and Oak. Such relationship issues quickly prove secondary to the threat at hand, however, especially once Joshua runs into a troupe of military men intent on getting some payback for Calvin’s crime.”

Here is a trailer for Ted Geoghegan’s Mohawk.